Down the Rabbit Hole With Schubert and Hawley

by Michael Liss The Machine has me in its tentacles. Some algorithm thinks I really want to buy classical sheet music, and it is not going to be discouraged. Another (or, perhaps it is the same) insists that now is the time to invest in toner cartridges, running shoes, dress shirts, and incredibly expensive real…

A Tale Of Three Transitions: Part II, Hoover To FDR

by Michael Liss Adlai Stevenson, in the concession speech he gave after being thoroughly routed by Ike in the 1952 Election, referenced a possibly apocryphal quote by Abraham Lincoln: “He felt like a little boy who had stubbed his toe in the dark. He said that he was too old to cry, but it hurt…

A Tale of Three Transitions: Part 1, Buchanan to Lincoln

by Michael Liss November 6, 1860. Perhaps the worst day in James Buchanan’s political life. His fears, his sympathies and antipathies, the judgment of the public upon an entire career, all converge into a horrible realty. Abraham Lincoln, of the “Black Republican Party,” has been elected President of the United States.   Into Buchanan’s hands falls…

A Joyous Bit of Politics: FDR’s Fala Speech

by Michael Liss It is March of 1944, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt is dying. His physicians, Lieutenant Commander Howard Bruen and Vice-Admiral Ross McIntire, know it, as do a handful of others McIntire brought in. FDR probably knows it as well, no matter how much his doctors may have sugar-coated their findings. He has cardiac…

134 Days

by Michael Liss Had enough of the 2020 election? Take heart, there are just 134 days left until Vote-If-You-Can Tuesday. That’s less time than it took Napoleon to march his Grande Armée into Russia, win several lightning victories, stall out, and then retreat through the brutal winter, with astronomical casualties, all the while inspiring the…

Liberty and Disunion

by Michael Liss There is a statue of Daniel Webster in Central Park. It is tucked in at the intersection of West and Bethesda Drives, massive and unmoving, implacable and forbidding. Despite its size, it goes largely unnoticed, except as a meeting point. Just a few hundred feet to the west of Webster is The…

Biden’s Binders: We Select A Veep

by Michael Liss That Fifties-looking gent to your right is John J. Sparkman (D-Alabama) who was Adlai Stevenson’s running mate in 1952. Sparkman served in Congress for more than 40 years, the last 32 of them in the Senate. While not a star, he was associated with several pieces of important legislation and became Chair…

An Utterly Biased Guide To Impeachment

by Michael Liss I have an awful confession to make. I haven’t made up my mind about whether President Trump should be convicted and removed from office. I know that sounds deranged. I am “troubled” by what Trump apparently did. “Disturbed” by the scorched-earth defense strategy put together by the Trump team. “Deeply concerned” about…